Opens today -- but not in your city!
...the film has been banned in parts of South America because it depicts revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara in a negative light.

--Film Stew

Despite my earlier enthusiasm over what was described as today's "opening" of the Andy Garcia's "The Lost City," I now find myself perplexed and puzzled to see that it isn't opening in the Philadelphia area -- not now nor at any time in the forseeable future.

I'm writing this post on the opening day in the hope that frustrated movie goers (and maybe bloggers) might lend a hand. I agree with J.B. Spins that bloggers need to get behind it:

The Lost City opens in New York (and White Plains), Los Angles and Miami on the 28th, rolling out to additional cities in succeeding weeks. It is well worth looking for. Since it takes on Hollywood sacred cows, like Che and Castro, this film will need word of mouth support. The film critics of the antique media won’t help. The blogosphere needs to get behind it.
It's a shame so few people can see the film (frankly I find it infuriating) but Babalu Blog's review is probably the next best thing.

It's remarkable that this film was made, but that fact alone is not going to guarantee distribution. Here's the list of theaters from distributor Magnolia Pictures's web site:

4/28/2006
Encino, CA: Town Center 5
Hollywood, CA: ArcLight Hollywood 15
Irvine, CA: University Town Center 6 Cinemas
South Pasadena, CA: Rialto Theatre
West Los Angeles, CA: Westside Pavilion Cinemas
Aventura, FL: Aventura Mall 24 Theatres
Miami, FL: Palace 18
Miami, FL: Dolphin Cinema 19
Miami, FL: LeJeune Cinemas VI
Miami Beach, FL: South Beach 18
Miami Lakes, FL: Miami Lakes 17
South Miami, FL: Sunset Place 24 Theatres
Montclair, NJ: Clairidge Cinemas
Union City, NJ: Summit Quadplex
New York, NY: Sunshine Cinema
New York, NY: Empire 25 Theaters
New York, NY: Coliseum Theatre
White Plains, NY: Clearview Cinema 100 Twin

5/4/2006
Dallas, TX: USA Film Festival

5/12/2006
Berkeley, CA: Shattuck Cinemas
San Francisco, CA: Embarcadero Center Cinema
Cambridge, MA: Kendall Square Cinema

5/19/2006
Washington, DC: E Street Cinema
Chicago, IL: Landmark's Century Centre Cinema
Highland Park, IL: Renaissance Place
Edina, MN: Edina 4

5/26/2006
San Diego, CA: Hillcrest Cinemas
Tampa, FL: Tampa Theatre
University City, MO: Tivoli Theatre
Dallas, TX: Inwood Theatre

6/1/2006
Honolulu, HI: Doris Duke Theatre

6/9/2006
Indianapolis, IN: Keystone Art Cinema 7
Bloomfield Hills, MI: Maple Art Theatre
Charlotte, NC: Ballantyne Village 5
Austin, TX: Dobie Theatre

6/23/2006
Atlanta, GA: Midtown Art Cinemas 8
Houston, TX: River Oaks Theatre

I called Magnolia at (212) 924-6701 to ask about Philadelphia, and all they'd let me do was leave a message in someone's box. (The email address is publicity@magpictures.com)

Parenthetically, I should note that while it shocked me to see the right wing boycottliberalism.com announce a boycott of the film (it's still there, under "New Boycotts"), that view does not seem to typify the right wing. Here's WorldNetDaily:

Poetic, dramatic and at times incredibly moving, "The Lost City" not only is a loving tribute to Havana and Cuban art and music, it is also a loving tribute to liberty, democracy and capitalism. Castro's regime is clearly portrayed as an evil dictatorship.
Castro and Guevara portrayed as evil?

No wonder it faces an uphill battle.

Lest anyone think that only WorldNetDaily takes notice of Hollywood's peculiarly pro-Communist slant, here's the New York Sun:

Perhaps it's because of vestigial bitterness over McCarthyism, but Hollywood has produced appallingly few anti-communist films. By some estimates, 100 million people have died at the hands of communist governments - by now it might seem that there are a few stories to be told about the dangers of an ideology other than fascism.

At the moment, Steven Soderbergh and Benicio Del Toro are currently working on the second Che Guevara biopic in just the past few years, so it seems doubtful that many in Hollywood are troubled by romanticizing a man who was directly responsible for the execution of thousands of innocents.

The apex of absurdity came last year when Carlos Santana performed the theme from the other recent Che flick, "The Motorcyle Diaries," at the Academy Awards. He performed the song wearing a crucifix over one of the ubiquitous Che T-shirts, an act that prompted Cuban jazz great Paquito D'Rivera to write a letter to El Nuevo Herald castigating Mr. Santana, translated in a New Republic article last year: "One of those Cubans [at La Cabana, a prison in Cuba run by Guevara] was my cousin Bebo, who was imprisoned there precisely for being a Christian. He recounts to me with infinite bitterness how he could hear from his cell in the early hours of dawn the executions, without trial or process of law, of the many who died shouting, 'Long live Christ the King!'"

Given this context, it's hugely gratifying to see a film such as "The Lost City" that deals honestly with the full horrors of the Cuban revolution. Sadly, actor Andy Garcia's fine directorial debut, which rightfully frames the Cuban descent into communism as a tragedy, may disappear in a climate where Hollywood's cultural commissars are trying to make a hero out of Che Guevara. This is despite some expert staging and an impeccable pedigree.

That, I think, goes to the real underlying story of why Hollywood might feel threatened by the film. Because "The Lost City" threatens to lay bare the evil of Hollywood's enchantment with the monstrous Che Guevara, it represents more than an exposé of Guevara, Castro, or Communism. It's a (tacit) exposé of Hollywood.

Such things aren't supposed to be shown in theaters.

posted by Eric on 04.28.06 at 08:24 AM










Comments

I get the feeling the boycott group based their decision on the fact The Lost City includes Castro and Guevera. And since movies have praised the two before, The Lost City must praise them as well. It's a decision based on ignorance and venality.

Alan Kellogg   ·  April 28, 2006 10:20 PM

I have no idea what they were thinking. (My email has thus far gone unanswered.)

Eric Scheie   ·  April 29, 2006 8:12 AM

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